One of the more common problems when trying to pursue a career in competitive gaming is getting friends and family to understand Pro Gaming. Often times parents view gaming as a waste of valuable time that can be spent doing homework, chores or some other extra-curricular activity. It can frustrate and anger any gamer trying to explain the importance of a Gamebattles match or why, “I can’t sit at the dinner table for another 20 minutes” every other day. I would not say that my experiences dealing with family and gaming have been overly difficult over the past few years, but it has definitely been a learning experience for everyone involved. One area that was and continues to be a particularly difficult challenge is in the friends and relationships department although I am now much better at balancing the two. I am going to provide a few tips and pointers that have helped me in the past and may prove useful to you when attempting to get your friends and family involved in your gaming career.
The Learning and Understanding Process
If this were a step-by-step guide, the learning and understanding process would be the most important step in my guide every single time. This process is not something that can be explained in a few minutes, but one where you as a gamer and your parents take time to understand the Pros and Cons of competitive gaming. You may have a much easier time conceptualizing the big picture, but parents and most people over the age of 35 have a difficult time processing the notion of gaming as anything more than a casual hobby. It takes time, especially for parents, to understand Major Leauge Gaming, Gamebattles, Video Game Centers and most other gaming outlets despite having similar activities as an adolescent – don’t ask me why, I’m not a parent. Listed below is valuable and easily accessible information on MLG and Gamebattles:
I also recommend introducing (via telephone, Facebook, in person) the parents of your teammates to your own in order to establish a communication process. It could prove useful when scheduling practices and helping parents understand that your involvement also impacts teammates. Parents that know there are other parents, like themselves, facing similar gaming-related issues can also get feedback on how other parents are resolving issues. Providing more extensive details and options allow parents to thoroughly investigate the validity of competitive gaming.
Expectations, Setting Goals and Standards
I believe wholeheartedly in establishing goals and setting standards with my family as a measurement tool for not only my expectations, but my family’s as well. After establishing a solid understanding of competitive gaming, I would have my parents set expectations in different areas they feel gaming is hindering my performance (school, work, etc). As I have witnessed and experienced, parents operate on the simple principle of deductive reasoning:
- My child brings home a C- in English
- My child plays video games
- Video games make my child bring home a C- in English
The quick fix in that situation is to limit or completely rid the child of playing video games based on the parent’s deductive reasoning process. And, while video games may be a contributing factor there could be a number of others that play into the C- grade. Setting goals to maintain a certain GPA, doing a set number or chores, or spending time with friends and family are easy ways to establish a measurement of expectations.
I plan on writing a time management article very soon which will cover this topic more in depth. The juggling act often encompassed in gaming at my level is very hard to balance. I do not have the luxury of gaming for extensive amounts of time because I work and we all can’t be Tom “Tsquared” Taylor although that is the goal for most. Here are some of the ways I balance time and friends:
- Create a 2-Week or 4-week practice schedule
- Leave days open for non-gaming related activities
- Communicate with your friends about your schedule
- Communicate with your teammates about your schedule
- Play games with your friends that enjoy gaming (most girls don’t like Gears of War fellas)
Always evaluate and re-evaluate how much time you can spend perfecting your gaming skills versus perfecting your social-interaction skills. I would hate to be thrust into the gaming spotlight; featured on MLG or ESPN without the ability to properly speak to my audience. Do not underestimate the power of social-interaction and it’s importance in your life! Real-life friends have a direct impact on your day-to-day life and should be treated with the utmost respect.
Generating Excitement With Family and Friends
Generating excitement in a concept that is tough to understand is definitely difficult and there are no guarantees that Susan, your girlfriend, will get excited about tuning into the MLG Live Stream in any manner, language, or explanation presented. My advice when attempting to get your parents or friends truly involved and participating is to show them the possibilities that MLG and Gamebattles has offered to other gamers. Give them information about endorsements, sponsors, and some of the money that can potentially be earned from gaming’s best. Str8 Rippin’ is sponsored by Dr. Pepper. Neighbor is sponsored by GUNNAR Optiks and his previous team, Instinct sponsored by Old Spice. Maybe you cannot afford to make it to every single event in the season, so make a family trip out of one of the many stops on the MLG Pro Circuit – there is nothing quite like Florida anytime of the year.
This past season was the first year my mother tagged along with us to a Pro Circuit event. Please keep in mind, I cannot remember my mother missing more than a few sports games during my elementary, high school, or collegiate sports days. She really enjoyed the MLG experience, so much so that this upcoming year she plans to add another stop to her schedule…hopefully I’ll get her to every event soon.
My uncle, grandmother (yes my grandma), and different friends I have met along the way now tune into the MLG Live stream to watch me and my team compete. It is not easy to generate excitement in the concept of gaming, but people definitely become excited to see someone they know do extraordinary things.
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